World Vision Gift Catalogue – The Rights of Children Worldwide

children rights

Children are human beings whose lives should be protected from exploitation and abuse. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) outlines four broad classifications of children’s rights that are universally recognised: (1) the right to survive; (2) the right to a standard of living adequate for their health and well-being; (3) the right to protection; and (4) the right to participation. These broader categories are further divided into specific sub-classes.

For example, the right to a standard of living adequate to protect the child includes food and shelter, and the right to participation refers to the child’s right to be heard in decisions that affect them. Moreover, the UNCRC stipulates that children have a “right to be free from all forms of harmful interference with their dignity and integrity as human persons”.

It is estimated that more than 1 billion children are deprived of their basic needs. Many are subjected to violence and exploitation, including child labour and recruitment into armed conflict. They are also deprived of their rights to education, nutrition, and healthcare. In addition, many lack adequate access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. Despite the challenges, there are signs of progress towards meeting the rights of children. In the developed world, laws are increasingly being passed to protect children from harm and promote their mental and physical development; there are more campaigns to raise awareness of the negative impact of violence on children; and schools and social services are now required to report cases of suspected child abuse.

The UNCRC and its Optional Protocols (including one on the sale of children, child pornography, and child labor; and another on armed conflict) set up an international complaints procedure so that allegations of violations of children’s rights can be investigated. It’s important to remember that, in spite of this, no international body can force countries to honour children’s rights – this is the responsibility of each country and its citizens.

When a child has no chance of developing into an adult, for example if she is terminally ill with a disease that will keep her from living beyond childhood, her development rights are irrelevant. However, she does have welfare and protection rights whose correlate duties can be discharged.

There are many ways that you can support the rights of children worldwide, through the World Vision Gift Catalogue. You can make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children, whether it’s providing them with clean drinking water or helping them to achieve their educational potential. You can also help children who are living on the streets or in refugee camps to rebuild their lives. The world’s children deserve not only to live but to thrive – and you can help them reach their full potential by taking action today. Thanks to the support of people like you, millions more children will be able to escape poverty and exploitation, and have the opportunity to fulfill their rights as human beings.